RECAP: Grizzlys Bury Bobcats in OT

Less than 30 seconds from the second straight Saturday night shootout for the Lloydminster Bobcats, Olds Grizzlys forward Braydon Barker converted a 2-on-1 with a beautiful wrist shot to give the visitors a 3-2 victory at the Civic Centre on Saturday night.

An evenly played contest yielded no difference through 60 minutes, and the Grizzlys had an opportunity to take victory with a 4-on-3 power play to start the overtime period. A dedicated penalty kill, featuring a number of shot blocks and some key saves by Bobcats goaltender Austin McGrath, kept the Cats alive to fight through overtime. The Cats never really got back on track in the extra frame, but it looked as if the team would make it to a shootout until Barker ended it with 0:28 remaining.

It was the second straight victory for the Grizzlys, and handed the Bobcats their second straight loss against a southern opponent this weekend, although they were able to earn a point tonight. Right from the beginning, it looked as if it would be a photo finish.

It was the Grizzlys jumping out of the gate to a 1-0 lead courtesy of last year's leading scorer Chase Olsen, who banged a rebound off the end boards home 2:14 into the game. Assists on the goal went to Ryley Smith and James Gaume. However, the Bobcats wasted no time in striking back.

Flanked by new linemates Zach Webb and Caden Benson tonight, Will Middleton jumped on a loose puck in the Grizzlys slot and fired a one-timer over the shoulder of goaltender Ben Giesbrecht to level the game at 1-1, which is how the teams went into the first intermission.



Much like the first period, the Grizzlys jumped out to an early lead again in the second as Landon Gross found a small window to shoot from in tight, using a screen to fire a wrist shot past McGrath and in to make it 2-1 with his seventh goal in just his 13th game of the season. Again, the lead didn't hold up as the Cats struck back.

Taking a breakaway feed from Zach Kaiser, Kobe Walker went all alone on Giesbrecht, making a slick backhand to forehand move and putting home his third goal in the last three games, knotting the game up once again. A physical second period came to a close with the teams sitting even, and twenty minutes of regulation left to find a conclusion.



Unlike the first two frames, the third period provided no scoring action as Giesbrecht and McGrath locked into a duel and forced extra time.

Both sides had three power play opportunities tonight, but neither team was able to strike with the man advantage.

The northern road swing will continue in Sherwood Park for Olds tomorrow as they look to make it three straight wins, while the Cats will wait for a Wednesday night home date versus the Drayton Valley Thunder at the Civic Centre at 7:30.